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Peter W. and Victoria Chave Clement

134 pp., 9.75 x 10.25, Hardcover with 200 color illustrations


May 2014

Category: Books


Stonlea: A Timeworn Gilded Age Survivor Transformed documents the painstaking steps involved in the preservation and renovation of this building, and describes the renovators’ techniques. It specifically addresses the renovation of the fabric of the building—the various energy conserving strategies and the mechanical systems—as well as the whys and wherefores of the design, and is intended to serve as a model and inspiration for similar undertakings, regardless of size.

Stonlea is a large Colonial Revival style summer house in New England, a vivid example of nineteenth-century resort architecture. It was completed in 1891 by a family from St. Louis, seeking to escape the withering summers on the Mississippi River. The house was designed by the well-known Boston architecture firm of Peabody & Stearns, who were very busy in the late nineteenth century, designing country houses that helped shape the new face of resort architecture in the northeast.

It was built to accommodate a family of five and their domestic help, as well as long-term guests, and it therefore met the requirements of Polly Guth, its new owner, who wanted to house visiting family members and make the house a gathering place for four generations.

The house is sited overlooking Dublin Lake, originally called Monadnock Lake, with picturesque Mount Monadnock beyond. The original property included the house, a barn, a cottage, and a large carriage house / garage, on approximately one hundred acres of ancient farmland. By 2009 the house’s outbuildings had been sold to Polly’s daughter, so the latest purchase reassembled a large piece of the original puzzle.

The house had survived over one hundred years of New England weather and hard summer living fairly well, but had begun to suffer from “deferred maintenance,” a circumstance familiar to all homeowners. The task of bringing the house back to its original luster was a formidable one. In addition, the owner wanted to bring to bear the latest technology to reduce its impact on the environment: She wanted a “green” house, or more specifically a “net-zero” house, referring to the balancing of energy consumed and energy produced on-site.